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Chairman Cordero Participates in U.S. – Japan Bilateral Meeting

August 21, 2014

NR 14-11

Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202-523-5725)

On August 15, 2014, Chairman Mario Cordero participated in a U.S. - Japan Bilateral Maritime Meeting, hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration in Washington, DC. Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen, who headed the U.S. Delegation, welcomed maritime delegates from the United States and Japan who conferred throughout the day to consider the evolving international maritime landscape. The officials discussed such topics as the Panama Canal expansion, environmental issues, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-fueled vessels, port development, anti-piracy measures, and education efforts aimed at increasing visibility of the maritime industry. Participants agreed coordination on these maritime issues is valuable for promoting mutual interests in international ocean transportation and commerce.

Chairman Mario Cordero, Director Toshiya Morishige, and Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen

Chairman Cordero exchanged views with Mr. Toshiya Morishige, Director General of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Maritime Bureau, head of the Japan Delegation, regarding the antitrust immunity system for ocean carrier agreements in the United States and Japan. The Chairman summarized key provisions of the Shipping Act of 1984 (Shipping Act), which authorizes the Commission to monitor agreements between ocean common carriers for potential anti-competitive behavior. Under the Shipping Act, discussion agreements and vessel-sharing agreements between ocean common carriers must be filed with the Commission. Of these agreements, 101 include at least one Japanese-owned carrier, and approximately 50 agreements include Japan in their geographic trade area.

Japan is the United States’ fourth largest trading partner, and commercial maritime activity contributes to a significant portion of trade between the two countries. In 2013, the two-way trade in goods between the U.S. and Japan was valued at $203.8 billion, of which $78.4 billion was carried on liner vessels. In total, carriers transported almost 1.5 million containers to and from the U.S. and Japan last year. As a major importer of automobile parts, engines, and electronic equipment, the average value per container imported to the U.S. from Japan is over $99,000.

Chairman Cordero reiterated the United States’ intention to ensure a level playing field and the Commission’s mission to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable maritime transportation system. The Chairman expressed an interest in hosting a future Global Regulatory Summit on carrier alliance agreement-related issues and appreciates the continued dialogue on maritime-related matters. The Commission previously held a similar Regulatory Summit with the European Union and China. Japan agreed it would welcome the opportunity to participate in a forum to discuss antitrust-related matters.

The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.